Review #303: The Definitive Collection, ABBA

Karla Clifton
3 min readAug 8, 2022

#303: The Definitive Collection, ABBA

First of all, a moment of silence for 3Oh!3’s Want, which belongs right here.

Some fast ABBA facts: They were the first group to win the Eurovision song contest with “Waterloo.” They were all married and divorced to each other (Agnetha to Bjorn, Anni-Frid to Benny). Benny & Bjorn, who served as the group’s songwriters, also wrote the musical Chess. Also, Mamma Mia!

There’s so much to dig into with ABBA that it makes sense their only entry on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums is a Greatest Hits album. But the thing is, there is an even MORE significant ABBA Greatest Hits album.

ABBA Gold is like the 21st bestselling album of all time. Presumably, the reason behind including a “Definitive” collection instead is to include a greater number of ABBA songs. But the magic of ABBA Gold is in the title: it’s all gold, nothing less.

So you could argue there’s some fat to cut here, but you can’t argue with the groove. Here’s all the songs included on the Definitive Collection, and where I feel they belong in ABBA’s catalog. (Also, basically every one of these has a musical or live performance, so go nuts.)

ABBA Goes Multi-Lingual:

“Mamma Mia” (An award-winning musical, a star-studded film series, and an old-school Italian exclamation that I’ve never actually heard an Italian say.)

“Chiquitita” (If you listen to one cover from Cher’s Dancing Queen, listen to this one.)

“Fernando” (A true Spanish ballad, and one of the best-selling singles ever.)

“Voulez-Vous” (The only ABBA song to be recorded outside of Sweden!)

“Hasta Mañana”

ABBA Goes Kumbaya:

“People Need Love” (Which features yodeling.)

“Thank You for The Music” (AKA God’s gift to teen girls at family picnics. I’m being facetious — by the end of my ABBA bender, I was weeping at this one.)

“He Is Your Brother”

“I Have a Dream”

ABBA Goes Rock:

“So Long”

“Rock Me” (Bjorn sounds like he’s about to have a conniption.)

Sweetest ABBA Love Songs:

“Ring, Ring” (Like “Call Me Maybe” but somehow even peppier.)

“Lay All Your Love on Me” (One of my favorite scenes in the Mamma Mia movie. Amanda Seyfried dancing on a beach in a bathing suit!)

“Honey, Honey”

“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” (Do you?)

Saddest ABBA Love Songs:

“Love Isn’t Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)” (A breakup song that could be on Barney & Friends.)

“The Name of the Game” (Lot of divorce songs here.)

“The Winner Takes It All” (If I was in a band with my ex-wife, I wouldn’t make her sing about our divorce.)

“Knowing Me, Knowing You” (Then again, all their vocals are at their absolute rawest when they’re singing about divorce.)

“One of Us”

“SOS”

Best Girl Songs:

“Money, Money, Money” (My favorite songs are the ones where Agnetha and Anni-Frid get to be materialistic.)

“Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” (Strings so sharp, Madonna had to sample them.)

“Dancing Queen” (I haven’t been the dancing queen in ten years, but the piano on this song still makes me feel like royalty. Maybe a Dowager Countess, like Anni-Frid.)

“Head Over Heels”

Best Boy Songs:

“Take a Chance on Me” (“Boy Songs” are defined by songs where Benny & Bjorn are giving it their all on the vocals. This is my personal favorite. Take a chance, take a chance, takeatakea chanchance…)

“Does Your Mother Know” (Not that creepy!)

“Super Trouper” (Supapa troupapa…)

Best Songs That AREN’T On ABBA Gold:

“On and On and On”

“When All Is Said and Done” (A bittersweet standout.)

WORST Songs That Aren’t On ABBA Gold:

“Eagle”

“Summer Night City”

“Angleyes”

“The Day Before You Came”

“Under Attack” (Okay, I kind of love “Under Attack.”)

Songs That Suggest That ABBA Might Be In On Government Secrets:

“The Visitors (Crackin’ Up)”

ABBA’s Latest Release:

Voyage. It’s hardly definitive if it only spans their career 1982!

Review #302: Tonight’s the Night, Neil Young

Review #304: Just As I Am, Bill Withers

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